Everything You Need To Know About Puppy Teething
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ minutes
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about puppy teething. We’ll discover what age puppies get teeth, what age dogs stop teething, whether puppies lose their puppy teeth and when they, and their teeth, can be introduced to dry food. Read on to learn more about puppy teething…
Puppies, just like human babies, grow their teeth after they are born. This, unfortunately, means teething pain and a great desire to chew (which can last up until they're 1 year old!). This also means they’re going to need a lot of patience from their loving pet parent, as they won’t be able to communicate to you when their teeth are causing them discomfort…
The exact time when a puppy begins to get their teeth varies between breeds, but the process usually starts when they’re around 3 weeks of age. The incisors (the sharper teeth that are used to cut into food) usually make an appearance first and puppies have six of these on both the upper and lower gums. Then, the four canine teeth come in around 4 weeks of age alongside the incisors, followed by 12 premolars and molars (6 along the top gums, 6 along the bottom).
The teething process for puppies lasts between 6-8 months, but again exact timelines will vary from dog to dog and can last up to 1 year.
Just like humans, as your dog’s jaw grows, their baby teeth have to fall out in order for their adult teeth to come through. Puppy tooth loss typically begins around 3-4 months of age, starting with the incisors. Anywhere between 4-7 months is when the other three types of teeth start to fall. By the time your pup is eight months old, all their puppy teeth should have fallen out and they will have grown around 42 adult teeth!
Your pup will have an intense need to chew which helps relieve the discomfort brought on by puppy teething. Chewing also helps dislodge their puppy teeth to make way for their adult teeth. So, in order to help them out, they’ll need the right things to chew on and if you don’t want that to be your furniture it’s time to invest!
Look for durable, non-toxic puppy-specific chew toys (dog toys will always be clearly labeled for what age pup they are suitable for). It’s essential you get a toy that’s age and teething appropriate otherwise the wrong toy can cause their teeth and gums damage or they may even break the toy and swallow bits of it.
Try getting together a collection of dental sticks or rawhide chews too as variety is key to distracting a puppy. When they’re bored of one chew toy, your arms chair, or table leg can suddenly seem very appealing!
There are also options of activity toys where you can place small pieces of food inside. This will not only satisfy their chewing but give them some needed mental stimulation too, as they try to work out how to get the food out!
Try to always be present with your puppy when they’re chewing so you can monitor them and keep them safe.
The desire to chew should lessen after 1 year of age. However, dogs tend to need to chew throughout their life so will always need suitable toys and dental chews. It provides them pleasure, relaxes them, exercises their jaw, and helps keep their oral health and dental hygiene in check!
If you have a teething puppy, rotate their chews and toys on a regular basis to help distract them from trying out something you don’t want them chewing. Keep valuables, wires, and anything dangerous out of reach of your puppy. And, if your puppy does start to chew on something you don’t want them to, don’t punish them - this will just make them scared of you! Simply lead them off what they’re chewing and onto a suitable toy or dental chew. Make a fuss of them when they choose the right chew toy, as the positive reinforcement will help them choose this item again!
Puppies can eat dry food from around 6-8 weeks old, once they’re fully weaned. This usually happens with their breeder, as puppies shouldn’t leave their mother until they’re weaned.
However, many puppies go off their food when they’re teething because their gums hurt and their puppy teeth are becoming loose. So, if your puppy is reluctant to eat dry food this is probably why. Try mixing half the amount of their kibble with a wet food suitable for puppies to help soften and moisten the dry, harder food, or simply try softening the dry food with warm water.
If you decide to mix wet and dry food, be sure to scale back the amount of each so together they make one portion of food. It’s essential not to overfeed your pooch, otherwise, they will gain unnecessary weight from being overfed which can pose serious health issues in dogs.